Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2350036
 


 



A Critique of the Obama Preschool Proposal


David J. Armor


George Mason University - School of Public Policy

Sonia Sousa


George Mason University - School of Public Policy

November 18, 2013

GMU School of Public Policy Research Paper No. 2013-18

Abstract:     
President Obama has proposed "Preschool for All" with a pledge of $75 million to the states to implement "high quality" full-time preschool programs for low-income children as part of the regular K-12 system. The states would come up with additional funds to provide for the remaining higher income students. This proposal comes despite the fact that rigorous evaluations of the existing federal pre-K program, Head Start, show no lasting effects. Presumably, Head Start does not have sufficient quality, at least as compared to "high quality" programs implemented by several states and school districts such as New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Boston. This paper reviews existing research on Head Start and these selected "high quality" programs. It finds that the quality of Head Start programs is actually higher than the New Jersey program, and moreover there is little evidence that common measures of quality are strongly related to preschool outcomes. This makes sense when one considers that pre-K children are only 3 or 4 years old, and the necessary subject matters can be mastered by instructors without formal college degrees. It also finds that most of the evaluations of high-quality pre-K programs use a research design that is susceptible to serious bias due to program dropouts. The paper recommends that a small portion of Head Start funds be used to develop a thorough and rigorous demonstration and evaluation of "high quality" preschool programs before spending billions of dollars on another untested educational program.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 14

working papers series


Download This Paper

Date posted: November 18, 2013 ; Last revised: December 18, 2013

Suggested Citation

Armor, David J. and Sousa, Sonia, A Critique of the Obama Preschool Proposal (November 18, 2013). GMU School of Public Policy Research Paper No. 2013-18. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2350036 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2350036

Contact Information

David J. Armor (Contact Author)
George Mason University - School of Public Policy ( email )
3351 Fairfax Dr
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
Sonia Sousa
George Mason University - School of Public Policy ( email )
3351 Fairfax Dr
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 100
Downloads: 26

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo8 in 0.313 seconds